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Activist claims Forest Park trail being “ruined by cyclists”

Posted by on March 27th, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Photo by Marcy Houle sent to Mayor Hales
and other City Council members. It shows bike tires
in the mud on what she says is Wildwood Trail.

As we shared last month, the debate over improving bicycle access in Forest Park seems to be heating up once again.

On March 14th, Marcy Houle, an activist and author of One City’s Wilderness: Portland’s Forest Park who has been very outspoken in opposition to bicycling in the park, emailed Mayor Charlie Hales and the rest of City Council urging them to do something about people who ride illegally on Wildwood Trail.

Houle’s email (sent on March 14th) focused on the Wildwood Trail, which she describes as being, “arguably the most pristine, natural, and heralded city park hiking trail in the United States.” Houle shared photos she says show damage to the trail from bicycle tires and she called on the Mayor, City Council members, and Parks Director Mike Abbate to stop the “criminal activity.”

Read the full text of her email below (emphases mine):

Marcy Houle.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Dear Mayor Hales, Commissioners Fritz, Fish, Saltzman, Novik [sic], Park Superintendent Abbate, and To All Citizens Who Care About Forest Park:

In all of my years of researching, exploring, and writing about Forest Park, I have never witnessed such devastation to a Forest Park footpath as I did today.

The prized Wildwood Trail is being usurped and ruined by cyclists riding illegally and without any regard for the health of the park nor the safety of walkers.

Please review the attached four photos (out of approximately 50) that I took today that show the incredible damage caused by this one user group, and one photo that shows the rampant vandalism to the signs that say “No Cycling.”

Mayor Hales, Commissioner Fish, and Park Superintendent Abbate: what are you doing to put a stop to this criminal activity?

Where is the enforcement? Where is the park ranger (whom, as we know, has no authority to write citations) to safeguard the footpaths of Forest Park?

The flagrant, unsafe, and criminal behavior exhibited by cyclists who are riding illegally on pedestrian only trails throughout the park needs to be made public for all to see. Their actions need to be immediately addressed and stopped.

I will be happy to take anyone on a tour who wants to see first hand the destruction of Wildwood Trail — arguably the most pristine, natural, and heralded city park hiking trail in the United States.

After reviewing these photos, I hope you will finally begin to live up to your responsibilities and show true leadership in protecting this city park that is unequaled in all of the United States. We received it intact from prior leaders, and it is a treasure. Under your watch, if you show no action and let rogue users take it over with impunity, and then, cater to their demands, we risk losing its unparalleled and unique qualities forever.

I encourage everyone who cares about Forest Park to pass this letter on.

Sincerely,
Marcy Houle

It’s worth noting that Houle was the main anti-mountain biking force during the year-long public process that concluded in 2010 with a recommendation for no new bicycle access in the park. Houle is concerned by steps being taken by Director Abbate to improve bicycle access in Forest Park. In December, following a wildlife study of the park that found bicycling does not pose a major threat to the park’s ecology, Abbate said he supports more bicycling and plans to create new trails where bicycling will be allowed.

For more on the Forest Park mountain biking issue, browse our past coverage.

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Comments
  • Alex March 27, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    So she opposes more access to single track in Forest Park and then is surprised/mad that people are using what’s there?

    I am also curious as to how much “destruction” has really occurred. To me, some bike tracks in mud isn’t really threatening the livelihood of Forest Park and isn’t ruining the trail.

    Where is the enforcement for off-leash dogs? They seem to be the number one offender and riding your bike is on the same level as that. Also, we don’t leave plastic bags filled with poop scattered around.

    I agree something needs to change and it is Marcy’s attitude about letting mtb’s in forest park and providing adequate access.

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    • Hart Noecker March 28, 2013 at 9:56 am

      “To me, some bike tracks in mud isn’t really threatening the livelihood of Forest Park and isn’t ruining the trail.”

      Are you a park ranger?

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      • Alex March 28, 2013 at 10:10 am

        No, but I don’ t think a Park Ranger would be the one to make that assessment either as they are not the ones who would be doing an impact study. I am going to assume you don’t know too much about how these things are determined since you think a Park Ranger would be able to determine that. I would look at the many impact studies that have been done and almost all agree that MTB’s do very little damage.

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        • longgone March 28, 2013 at 11:14 am

          In defense of Hart’s question…Park rangers can were many hats. I at one time in the 1980′s became good friends with a NFS Ranger with Forest biology degree’s. He also had extensive knowledge of recreational impacts and was a primary contributor to a EIS in the Mark Twain National Foerest. BTW.. his coffee sipping small talk with me said that bicyles were of virtually no concern and with proper trail management even motorcycles (two wheeled ones) were far from destructive in regards to errosion ( based on their footprint and H20 flow.). Motorized vehicles passing through marshy stuff, was a no-no. Horses were the bain of his work (which at the time suprized me.), so he said. But I digress…

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          • longgone March 28, 2013 at 11:16 am

            ..wear hats. :)

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            • q'Tzal March 28, 2013 at 7:12 pm

              Especially if they are Flying horses ;)

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      • A March 29, 2013 at 3:46 pm

        Also, let’s not forget – let’s *not* forget, Dude – that keeping wildlife, an amphibious rodent, for uh, domestic, you know, within the city – that aint legal either.

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    • R-dat March 28, 2013 at 9:15 pm

      Good call on the off leash dogs – HUGE problem. I run on wildwood fairly frequently and have never actually seen a bike poaching the trail but every single time out I encounter numerous off leash dogs. I have been tripped, forced into puddles or off the trail, and even chased once by off leash dogs.

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    • yellowjacket April 1, 2013 at 4:44 pm

      Bravo, Marcy, for speaking up in defense of Forest Park from the onslaught of destructive mechanized modes of transport. As someone who has extensively studied the park’s flora and fauna, she is a true friend of Forest Park. I trust her views more than all the views of the cyclists on this blog put together who want to ransack all the park has to offer.

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  • Bjorn March 27, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Ruts in the park aren’t great, and I think it is important for people to ride when it is wet, but while this might be evidence of people riding within the park she provides zero evidence to support any of her over the top accusations of danger. I think we should take her up on her offer to tour us through the park one at a time to see the “UNSAFE” behavior first hand. Does anyone have her phone number so that we can call her to request our personal tours?

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    • Alex March 27, 2013 at 5:03 pm

      I didn’t see any ruts in the pictures provided – but I do agree, no one wants those.

      Based on her previous actions, it is not hard to believe that she is completely blowing this out of proportion. I would love a guided tour and an explanation of the environmental impact that these tracks actually have on the surrounding area.

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    • bjorn March 27, 2013 at 10:26 pm

      I obviously meant important for people not to ride single track when it is wet…

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      • Marid March 27, 2013 at 10:41 pm

        I agree. If there will ever be MTB access it will likely be limited to the dry season. When the trails are dry and hard-packed MTBs do very little damage. Assuming you don’t skid, probably the same as hiking boots. When it’s wet you get ever widening trails of muck as people try to skirt the edges of the trail. Even worse is going off-trail into soft soils.

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  • Chris Mealy March 27, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Forest Park is hardly pristine. From what I’ve seen it’s mostly invasive english ivy. I’d rather have bike ruts.

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    • dave March 27, 2013 at 5:39 pm

      Seriously. This is what drives me most nuts about the whole thing; IT’S NOT A WILDERNESS, PEOPLE. It’s an overgrown 80-year-old clearcut / abandoned subdivision smack in the middle of an enormous urban environment. It only looks wild because it’s next to a railyard. Which betrays just how disingenuous these people are – it’s not wild, therefor wilderness preservation isn’t their goal. Their goal is selfish hoarding of a public resource for themselves.

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      • Marid March 27, 2013 at 10:35 pm

        The park actually has fairly diverse wildlife. Volunteers and the Water Bureau spend a lot of time clearing out brush and ivy. Oregon Field Guide has a few programs about Forest Park you might want to check out. The most destructive activity I see is erosion and subsequent silting of streams. I love mountain biking, but you have to respect the trails or you get kicked out. Trying to argue that it’s ok to abuse a park because it isn’t wilderness won’t do us any favors.

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        • davemess March 28, 2013 at 8:05 am

          Have either of you guys been to Sandy Ridge? If properly built trails can handle a decent amount of water, and won’t necessarily have to be limited to just a few dry months of the summer. Even Powell Butte drains pretty well and is rideable most months of the year. Most of the “hiking” trails through forrest park were not built very well, especially for bikes, and this becomes evident after almost any rain.

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          • davemess March 28, 2013 at 8:07 am

            Sorry that was meant for the above comments.
            Why does it seem like the reply function has been messed up lately? Might want to look into it Jonathan. I’m using Safari, and if I hit reply, it usually just refreshes the page and takes me to the top. Takes a few times to get an actual reply.

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            • A.K. March 28, 2013 at 8:20 am

              I’m having the same page refresh issue with Chrome.

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            • Nicholas March 28, 2013 at 11:23 am

              But by allowing bikers access to the park, you are also soliciting a HUGE work base for maintaining and improving existing trails. Some of these workers have a great skill set, funding for needed trail amendments (i.e. gravel) and trail work experience to draw from. Any thing that has an issue, would be fixed NO ISSUE.

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  • howrad March 27, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    I noticed even worse ruts than that on the Lower Macleay trail last weekend, but from feet.

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    • Adam March 27, 2013 at 6:58 pm

      Agreed.

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  • Bill Walters March 27, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    In that photo, I’m pretty sure I see sneaker and dog prints — same depth. Marcy: How about we match the scope of the ban to such evidence?

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  • Allan March 27, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    I would gladly hike that trail in the condition in the photo. While I don’t particularly approve of riding the wildwood, I don’t see anyone doing the one thing which would lead to less riding the wildwood – building new trails!

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  • daisy March 27, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    I know some folks take jogging strollers on the Wildwood. Could those tracks be three wheels x 2 on an out-and-back?

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  • Ray Ogilvie March 27, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    I think it’s a baby jogger tire track.

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    • Alli March 27, 2013 at 9:53 pm

      I saw a baby jogger on the Wildwood just a few days ago actually. It’s not the first time I’ve seen them either.

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  • Burk March 27, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    I would love to see the rest of the pics, any links? I’m no trail management expert but I’m just not seeing any damage. If the tread marks where widening out the trail, or there where a bunch of skid marks digging big grooves in the trail then maybe. This looks no worse than what a group of 10 or 20 people would do walking through the same terrain in hiking boots. Don’t get me started on what a horse would do in those conditions.

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  • oliver March 27, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Activist is right. A quick scan of the results of her name search seem to indicate that she believes Forest Park is some kind of wilderness.

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    • wsbob March 27, 2013 at 6:58 pm

      Being the closet thing to wilderness the city of Portland has for natural surroundings, as wilderness, is exactly the way residents of Portland and the city should seek to conserve and protect Forest Park’s 5000 acres.

      Some of the words Marcy Houle uses in her email, venture into hyperbole rather than realistically describing the issue she’s concerned about. That’s not good, because it unwittingly helps to open up opportunity to people whose intentions indicate they don’t particularly have any regard for this unique city park, other than to somehow make a case to have the city’s uniquely expansive nature park be used for off-road biking.

      While in her email to city officials, Marcy Houle gets a bit excessive, venturing into hyperbole to describe the issue she’s concerned about, bikeportland’s publisher Jonathan Maus, in his article to bikeportland readers, once again as he has in at least one past bikeportland story about efforts to have Forest Park be used for mountain biking, chooses to euphemistically refer to such efforts as being made “…to improve bicycle access in Forest Park. …”.

      Carefully, or otherwise using some euphemistic phrase that doesn’t include the words ‘mountain biking’ or ‘off-road biking’, instead of plainly stating that the intention of some people is ‘to officially open Forest Park to mountain biking’, is a disservice to people with a genuine interest in having their questions about use of the park, be realistically answered.

      Is Houle raising a legitimate issue about mountain bike tires creating damaging ruts in a trail engineered for foot travel, and do her pictures accurately depict actual impact from illegal use of bikes on such trail? Maybe, maybe not. Despite perhaps being a bit over-dramatic in describing the situation, she did at least, bother to take pictures of the alleged damage, has attempted to alert city officials, and in civil terms, has extended an open invitation to personally guide people to examples of where she feels damage to trail from illegal bike use has occurred.

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      • CharlieB March 27, 2013 at 10:43 pm

        It’s a big park. Let’s share it already.

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        • Mike Vandeman October 19, 2014 at 5:08 pm

          You CAN share it. All you have to do is WALK, just like everyone else. Is that too much for you? There is absolutely no good reason to allow bikes on trails, where they are very destructive.

          Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1996: http://mjvande.nfshost.com/mtb10.htm . It’s dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don’t have access to trails closed to bikes. They have EXACTLY the same access as everyone else — ON FOOT! Why isn’t that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking….

          A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and that science supports that view. Of course, it’s not true. To settle the matter once and for all, I read all of the research they cited, and wrote a review of the research on mountain biking impacts (see http://mjvande.nfshost.com/scb7.htm ). I found that of the seven studies they cited, (1) all were written by mountain bikers, and (2) in every case, the authors misinterpreted their own data, in order to come to the conclusion that they favored. They also studiously avoided mentioning another scientific study (Wisdom et al) which did not favor mountain biking, and came to the opposite conclusions.

          Those were all experimental studies. Two other studies (by White et al and by Jeff Marion) used a survey design, which is inherently incapable of answering that question (comparing hiking with mountain biking). I only mention them because mountain bikers often cite them, but scientifically, they are worthless.

          Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and, worst of all, teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it’s NOT!). What’s good about THAT?

          To see exactly what harm mountain biking does to the land, watch this 5-minute video: http://vimeo.com/48784297.

          In addition to all of this, it is extremely dangerous: http://mjvande.nfshost.com/mtb_dangerous.htm .

          For more information: http://mjvande.nfshost.com/mtbfaq.htm .

          The common thread among those who want more recreation in our parks is total ignorance about and disinterest in the wildlife whose homes these parks are. Yes, if humans are the only beings that matter, it is simply a conflict among humans (but even then, allowing bikes on trails harms the MAJORITY of park users — hikers and equestrians — who can no longer safely and peacefully enjoy their parks).

          The parks aren’t gymnasiums or racetracks or even human playgrounds. They are WILDLIFE HABITAT, which is precisely why they are attractive to humans. Activities, such as mountain biking, that destroy habitat, violate the charter of the parks.

          Even kayaking and rafting, which give humans access to the entirety of a water body, prevent the wildlife that live there from making full use of their habitat, and should not be allowed. Of course those who think that only humans matter won’t understand what I am talking about — an indication of the sad state of our culture and educational system.

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  • dwainedibbly March 27, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    They look like stroller tracks to me. Seriously, how do you know those came from bikes?

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  • Aaron March 27, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    I walk/run the Wildwood and several other trails fairly regularly. There are spots that look as bad or worse than the location pictured above and these only have foot prints in them.

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  • puddletown March 27, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    Let the Mayor and Parks director know that Marcy’s views are NOT in the best interest of the citizens. Much to her dismay Forest Park is a shared resource for multiple uses not her personal “wilderness”

    Contact info mayorcharliehales@portlandoregon.gov and director.abbate@portlandoregon.gov

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  • JOHN ALAN NAYLOR March 27, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    Aaron is on the correct arch here….a too wet, sloppy, poorly managed trail is lame regardless of whether it’s being walked on or cycled-thru. I live in Bethany, walk/bike ALL sections ……..the last 3 yrs. have been very wet ( while in Durham N.C. last August I remember telling my best friend that firelane 3 was STILL too wet to ride on w/out damaging it on July 4th. ). Only better trail management will keep this issue from “eroding” further…..fun-o-fact for 2day ????? Did you know there are more than 4x as many people living in PDX than there were when I left high school in 1985 ????? ,……………………..

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  • Adam March 27, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Using her own logic, I assume Marcy has a big problem with hikers and runners on the Wildwood Trail too? I’m sorry, but the Wildwood Trail is far from the “pristine trail” Marcy claims it is. It is infested with invasive species such as garlic mustard, English ivy, and holly – all of which has been brought in entirely by hikers et al using the park. Go to the less trodden portions of Forest Park where few people on foot venture, and the invasive species count PLUMMETS.

    There is also rampant trail braiding – that’s where walkers and runners cannot be bothered to use any of the switchbacks, and make their own trails STRAIGHT up the hills between switchbacks, ruining the ecosystem, and causing drainage nightmares….

    I’m sure, based on this evidence, Marcy will be okay with banning walkers and runners from the park too. Or is she what I strongly suspect she might be – a bit of a hypocrite, with an anti-bike agenda to boot?

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    • wsbob March 27, 2013 at 11:01 pm

      You seem to be saying that you feel that people on foot using the park over years, are responsible for having degraded the park’s natural environment; and since, in your opinion, this is so, it should somehow be acceptable for people to further degrade the park by using it for mountain biking, also. That’s not a very positive, persuasive argument for making use of the park for mountain biking and off-road biking.

      A related rationale may partly account for why numbers of off-road bike enthusiasts apparently think the sub-alpine mountain slopes at Timberline Lodge ski-resort on Mt Hood, with its clear cuts for ski runs and chairlifts, may as well be used for downhill mountain bike runs.

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      • Chainwhipped March 28, 2013 at 9:27 am

        Of course, how selfish of us. Let’s do all the things that YOU wanna do.

        When was the last time you saw a trail maintenance crew made up of – and organized by – hikers? We’d all appreciate it if y’all would stop insisting that riding a mounainbike makes us inconsiderate of the environment. Especially when you’ve just driven your car to Forest Park on asphalt that was once pristine wildlife habitat.

        Now, put down the binoculars for a moment and look at what’s right in front of your face.

        Here’s the basic issue:
        People need playgrounds for all kinds of activities. Sometimes it’s slide and a jungle gym, sometimes it’s a skate park, sometimes it’s a trail in the woods built and maintained by people who ride bikes upon it.

        Here’s what’s happening:
        When there are no skate parks, we see a lot more illegal skateboarding than we do when skate parks exist within an accessible distance. Hence, when there is no accessible place to ride a mountainbike legally, we see plenty of illegal mountainbiking.

        Offer a solution, Bob. Telling the mountain bikers of the Portland area to “F**k Off so I can watch birds” is selfish and counter-productive. This illusion that mountainbikes somehow equal motorcycles is absurd. Arguing over whether a 2-3ft wide path will somehow ruin a park with 20ft wide fire lanes already ranging from one end to the other is even more absurd.

        More places to ride mountainbikes will come to the Portland area. Make peace with it. Help us find a place you’re okay with, or put up with the activity we’re already seeing in Forest park, because it will continue.

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        • wsbob March 28, 2013 at 11:51 am

          Chainwhipped…you’re welcome to do a search of bikeportland’s archives for past comments I’ve posted to stories about efforts to use Forest Park for mountain biking, in which I’ve offered many suggestions, as have other people, about ways mountain biking enthusiasts could possibly expand mountain biking opportunities within Portland, or in the metro area.

          In making those suggestions, I’ve never done so in a dismissive manner as you suggest by your use of foul mouthed language. If you seek a constructive dialogue, attempt not to sabotage the potential for it by destructive efforts.

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          • Chainwhipped March 28, 2013 at 8:56 pm

            Well, Frak, Bob. I guess I see part of your frakkin’ point. In the future I’ll be sure not to edit my frakkin’ pseudo-profanity as that is apparently upsetting to some.

            And, I suppose you’re being Constructively Dismissive. Which, I admit, is completely frakkin’ different.

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      • Adam March 28, 2013 at 11:54 am

        wsbob – Actually I don’t support bikes on the Wildwood Trail, and nowhere in my comment will you find anything stating that I support bikes on the trail.

        What I am pointing out however, is that Marcy is hypocritical to single out a very, very small percentage of bicyclists for ruining the park, when hundreds of thousands of hikers, runners, and dog walkers and their dogs have been ruining the park already for decades.

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        • Adam March 28, 2013 at 11:58 am

          Not to mention the effect particulates from hundreds of thousands of motorists on the park who drive Saltzman/Germantown/Newberry/Cornell/Skyline…. but we’ll save that rant for another day!

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        • wsbob March 29, 2013 at 12:34 am

          You seem to be attempting to rationalize that since, in your opinion, foot travel in the park has done some harm to the park, it should also be fine for harm to be done to the park by its use for off-road biking. Houle doesn’t mention anything at all about numbers of people biking in the park, but instead, simply if not plainly, says and provides photo evidence that people riding bikes are using the park, illegally.

          Whether or not bike tires on trail is damaging the trail is just one issue, and is really beside the main point, which is that Forest Park, as a nature park, was not created to be used for the type of activity that is probably most of the different types of mountain/off-road biking.

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  • Peter March 27, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Based on her email, Madam Houle clearly has issues. Sorry Marcy, but there are always going to be “scofflaws”. Most cyclists are respectful and stay off Wildwood.

    Still, I don’t understand what all of the Forest Park bashing is about? FP is a gem and we should be taking care of it for our use and for future generations. Yes, it’s overrun in places with English Ivy and countless other invasive species, but there are beautiful, nearly-pristine sections as well.

    The problem is the we, as Portlanders, horribly under-fund the maintenance of FP; Wildwood is a mess in many places. Why don’t we as cyclists, runners, and hikers all agree to fund it properly? We need to fix the existing trails and firelanes and build adequate single-track.

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    • Alex March 27, 2013 at 9:43 pm

      I don’t think it is so much bashing as just being realistic.

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  • sabes March 27, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    But cyclists can do no wrong! We’re allowed to go anywhere we want because we don’t burn fossil fuels and we don’t clog things up like those damn pedestrians and their sauntering and swaggering! I’m going to impune Marcy’s character and not address he concerns because we’re right and she’s wrong!

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    • alex March 27, 2013 at 10:26 pm

      Great argument. Her arguments have been weak, at the very best, and have straight out ridiculous/slanderous at worst. It is much like your comment, which adds nothing to the argument. Do you back her up? What have you seen? Do you think those are ruts or are they just bike tracks through mud? If you are going to call bullshit on something you better bring something to the argument other than bullshit.

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  • sabes March 27, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    But cyclists can do no wrong! We’re allowed to go anywhere we want because we don’t burn fossil fuels and we don’t clog things up like those damn pedestrians and their sauntering and swaggering! I’m going to impugn Marcy’s character and not address he concerns because we’re right and she’s wrong!

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  • Anonymous March 27, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    I ALWAYS slow down, pull to the side and allow hikers to pass when I ride hiking trails illegally.

    She’s right, it does need to be addressed. I propose that the trail be shared between hikers and mountain bikers.

    The “NO BICYCLES” signs showed up in the late-80′s. Maybe the trail should be Bicycles only and no hikers for the next 20 or so years. That sounds fair to me.

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  • Brian Johnson March 27, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    I realize this might be a little tangent to the issue, but I note with interest that there is a bottle of “mountain spring” water in front of Ms. Houle. Perhaps she should address THAT particular environmental evil and the deleterious effect its production has on pristine environments.

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    • JRB March 28, 2013 at 12:30 pm

      Lame argument. Unless you always choose the least environmental impact option in your dozens of daily decisions, you should try to limit your response to the substance of her arguments and leave what water she drinks out of it (assuming its her water bottle to begin with).

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  • Skid March 27, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    Does anyone have a picture of the craters hikers’ feet leave in mud?

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    • Spiffy March 28, 2013 at 11:44 am

      a Google image search of “forest park wildwood trail muddy” resulted in many pictures showing much worse conditions caused by hikers…

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  • bjorn March 27, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    I am serious about wanting to tour the damage Marcy believes to have been caused by cyclists with her. I have tried to find contact info but have not been able to, does anyone know how to get in touch with her?

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    • Brian March 28, 2013 at 8:19 am

      She is on Facebook and Linkedin. Please let us know when the tour is scheduled. I would like to attend, if possible.

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      • bjorn March 28, 2013 at 9:45 pm

        I got her email and have tried to contact her, so far no response. I want to get out there right away, as I am concerned that the damage may be gone before we get a chance to see it. I encourage others to try to contact her to, she is trying to get the word out about this and wants to show people how dangerous mountain biking can be. I am surprised by her statements and look forward to seeing the damage and danger first hand.

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  • was carless March 27, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    The rhetoric in that letter was rather pernicious.

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  • davemess March 28, 2013 at 8:18 am

    I have to say that I am both saddened and still surprised (that alone is surprising to me as I’ve lived here for 2.5 years) at the attitudes of many in this supposedly “progressive” city. Mountain bikers are not going away, the sport is not going to shrink. The interest is still going to be there (and unfortunately when give no other opportunities some people will ride on trails illegally). People are going to continue to push for more (or any) access. It would incredibly behove people like the above email-writter, to get this into their head, and perhaps decide to find ways to responsibly work with mountain bikers (many of whom were volunteering in the park, until the 2010 commissioner fiasco). Just crazy to me that in 2013, these arguments are still happening with consistency.

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  • Jim F. March 28, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Far too many underused trails in Forrest Park, especially as you head farther north. I think it is time those trails be converted to biking trails. Restricting all of the trails in the park to hiking (I have rarely if ever seen anyone on the more remote, underused trails when running) doesn’t make any sense.

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    • wsbob March 28, 2013 at 11:17 am

      Trails in parts of Forest Park, or in any nature park, which is what Forest Park is…that are little used, make a great deal of sense. People holding their presence and activity in such places, to a low profile plays an important role in allowing natural settings to continue being the natural environments available for people to experience, that they are. People seeking a quieter, less traveled place in the park than parts of it closest to the city are, can go there knowing this is what they’ll find.

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  • Scott March 28, 2013 at 9:14 am

    That letter is hilarious. Marcy Houle is in my mind now as some sort of hybrid Shakespearean nemesis and that “Won’t somebody please think of the children” lady from the Simpsons.

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  • Todd Hudson March 28, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Mary Houle’s hyperbole is turned up to 11.

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  • Alma March 28, 2013 at 10:56 am

    I agree with Jim F, there are sections of Wildwood that are like 8 inches wide with LOW overhanging branches (you actually have to duck to go under). Since NO ONE seems to use them (well, the hand full of trail runners that actually run distances; I am a trail runner aside from an MTB’er), those should definitely be opened to all… that way the park can be used to its full potential and maintained better.

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  • Tony Pereira March 28, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Go back to the same spots on those trails in three months and there will be no sign of bike tracks. Wildwood is very resilient and mostly well designed. It could use better drainage in a few spots, but it’s mostly good to go. Open it to bikes on even numbered days and gain an army of trail maintainers.
    Ms. Houle is the leader of the anti-sharing selfish powers that be in the park. Her unwillingness to compromise is sad.

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    • basketloverd March 28, 2013 at 11:17 am

      Having ridden those trails from the early 82 to 97 that spot seems to be in exactly the same shape now as it was then, for this time of year. So like Tony said that trail will firm back up in a couple of months.

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    • longgone March 28, 2013 at 11:23 am

      Thanks to T.Pereira, for speaking frankly, if not bravely on this while being a person in our community who’s livelyhood revolves around bicycles. yea! He is correct. People will participate in responsible ways, if allowed to ride FP, and help with the trails. IMO.

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  • elk rider March 28, 2013 at 11:06 am

    I’m not convinced any of those tracks are from a bicycle. About half of them are super narrow and not very deep. Maybe there is a 35 pound person on a road bike tearing it up?

    The wider tracks, I’d have to see more, but it would be VERY easy to determine if this is a jogging-style stroller or a bike, if you just look to see signs of broken traction (braking / sliding / spinning out / cornering).

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  • Paul March 28, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Whoops! I guess it’s no more hiking while the trails are wet ;)

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  • Spiffy March 28, 2013 at 11:48 am

    she has a valid point, people are bicycling illegally on the trail…

    unfortunately her NIMBY response completely overshadows her non-existent concerns…

    she’s essentially yelling at a toddler to stop playing, and not giving them something else to play with…

    and as we’ve seen in other comments, now that she’s drawn attention to herself she has opened herself up for criticism in all the other ways she fails at environmental stewardship…

    share the (dirt) road…

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    • resopmok March 28, 2013 at 7:09 pm

      Finally, a reasonable comment with which I can share some sympathy. All those who who want to demonize Ms Houle for bringing forth valid concerns are no better than the concerns themselves which are brought without reasonable thoughtfulness and proffered solutions.

      People are illegally riding their bikes here because they have no good alternative within the city limits and they will continue to do so until some are offered. We’ve built skateparks, MUPs, and even on-street facilities to help commuters; why can’t we find the space for some recreational MTB riding within the city? Even Seattle built a park under a freeway. And yes, the Lumberyard is something, but it’s indoors, and it costs money.

      Not having these facilities doesn’t excuse the behavior, either, and those interested in seeing them built would be wise to do what they can to help curb what is posted as illegal riding. Forest Park is not perfect, pristine wilderness by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a large, beautiful park and deserves the efforts of conservation and restoration.

      There are many of us who feel real connection to both nature and the people who are involved in these struggles. By continuing to sling mud at each other, opposing forces are doing little to find the creative solutions which will guide them towards a harmonious outcome for all. This hurts everyone. Instead, the obvious anger only plants the seeds for more destruction — both in the park and the relationships of those groups who should be working together.

      Humans are reasonable, thinking, and feeling creatures. This is a problem we can solve, but we have to work together, not against each other. Please.

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  • Ryno Dan March 28, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    It’s not “cyclists”, it’s mountain bikers. And it’s an open secret that mountain bikers constantly poach the wildwood trail.

    Pardon the interruption, back to demonizing the woman who dared to write the city council about her concerns…

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    • elk rider March 28, 2013 at 1:10 pm

      Comments like that only help to divide us into smaller groups. I wonder if the reason this city tends to be so anti-mtb is because they associate mountain bikers with the cyclists they see on the streets every day ignoring traffic signals. Do we really want to go there?

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    • Alex March 28, 2013 at 1:27 pm

      Did you read the letter? It was an open letter to the community and not just to city council. She also demonized people in her letter. You get what you give.

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  • Fred Lifton March 28, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Far too much public policy in this country is driven by hysterical ideologues like Ms. Houle. Fear-mongering, self-righteousness and fact-free shouting seem to rule the day, regardless of what a reasonable majority seem to think. Ms. Houle believes off-road riders are a “danger” and are “ruining the Park” because her gut tells her so, and she expects that to be good enough for the rest of us.

    It isn’t.

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  • Joe March 28, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    FREE Forest park!

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  • lunchrider March 28, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    I am always amazed by the number of vitriolic comments aimed at Marcy.
    She is well spoken and far from hysterical in her letter. She has valid concerns and its the rare comment here that even addresses them with a solution. Perhaps a rider fee to pay for enforcement? Her concern was illegal riding. And remember just because you want something doesn’t make it right, heck I am sure there are people who would like to drive their 4 wheelers and trucks on the trails and Leaf Erickson, boy would we all howl then. I think many of the posters here would be better served to read Marcie’s books and then volunteer to help fixup the park for everybody. As always actions speaks louder then words, If there is not a group well then go organize it. Marcy and her friends use the park and love it and have its best interest at heart. I am a hiker and a rider but I don’t need to ride everywhere,people should spend there energy opening up areas for riding where its welcomed

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    • Brian March 28, 2013 at 5:07 pm

      Hi Lunchrider,
      We have mentioned solutions to “illegal riding” many, many times; only to fall on deaf ears. We cannot police each other, though we have done outreach to other mountain bikers through a variety of communications. Unfortunately, those who oppose “illegal riding” also oppose the only common sense solution-legal riding.
      Myself, and many others, have done work in the Park that benefits the park and all users. I would argue a disproportionate amount given what we are given access to. For example, 40+ of us rode our bikes out to Linnton to pull Ivy at a Forest Park trailhead. We don’t have legal access to the trailhead. We did it because we DO care about the park as much as anyone else. If you happen to attend work parties, you have probably rubbed shoulders with us. We don’t present ourselves as mountain bikers. We are people who also hike, birdwatch, remove ivy, etc. For the past 6 months a good portion of our efforts have gone towards improving the Riverview area. We have organized and put in over 400 hours of time removing garbage, improving and re-routing unsustainable trails for all users, and planting 250 native plants. We did this because we care.
      Lastly, I take offense with your comment that “people should spend there (sic) energy opening up areas for riding where its welcomed.” A few vocal opponents with more political clout than us does not me we are not welcomed. I would be willing to wager that the Parks department, in addition to a majority of Park users, would welcome us and our resources with open arms.
      There are solutions for the perceived “problems” associated with mountain bikers. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, some have zero desire to hear them. Here’s something I say to my students all the time-”Minds are like umbrellas, they work best when they are open.”
      Cheers!
      Brian

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    • f5 March 28, 2013 at 5:37 pm

      mountain bikes = legitimate trail users
      4×4 cars ≠ legitimate trail users

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    • Alex March 28, 2013 at 6:48 pm

      Really? You don’t think she isn’t just a bit grand when describing Forest Park, the damage being done to the trail by cyclists and how cyclists are endangering the lives of other users? You think those photos show the decline and decimation of FP? I have been riding/running/walking/working on trails up there for many years and have seen damage up there far greater than the picture included and when it dries out, the “damage” goes away. Calling people “criminals” is a not a way to win over a community or even try to work with them. That is very aggressive language and would not refer to it as rational or even reasonable. She is simply sore that cyclists are getting allowed in at all because she doesn’t like them. Is she providing studies that show mountain biking does irreparable damage to trails? She states that the city commissioners are catering to the demands of cyclists and yet I don’t think one mountain biker would even think they are doing that. She sounds fanatical in her language and accusations, offers no room for negotiation and has, in fact, basically stopped progress on allowing any more cycling opportunities in Forest Park.

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      • Eric April 4, 2013 at 4:12 pm

        if there was damage, maybe there could be photos of said damage. A few shallow tire tracks in a poorly drained section of trail are hardly evidence of damage

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        • Brian April 4, 2013 at 4:59 pm

          I would like to know where the photo was taken so I can explore. Some more information would be great, Marcie. Thank you.

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  • L March 28, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    So Marcy Houle is an “activist” (isn’t she also an author and a biologist?), huh? Doest that make Jonathan an activist (isn’t he also a journalist?)…I think it’s time for Jonathan to interview Marcy face to face. Otherwise all the same comments and vitriol get bandied about and nothing gets accomplished except a whole bunch of elevated blood pressure and name calling.

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    • Alex March 28, 2013 at 6:38 pm

      I don’t see a contradiction between her being an activist and any other thing she does. People are not simply defined by 1 or 2 words and play many roles depending on the situation. Marcy has actively been involved in these committees, voicing her opinion very publicly and creating tension in the community – I would call that an activist. Simply reporting on something does not make one an activist.

      Jonathan can interview her all he wants and she can say whatever she wants, but what matters is her actions. She has proven time and again to not be at all reasonable on this subject. I think her letter above clearly illustrates that. It seems you are in the minority who doesn’t get that sense from it.

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    • singletrackmind March 28, 2013 at 7:00 pm

      Jonathan, I second the call for a Marcy interview! If she is so bold as to write hysterical open letters (and remember her spam reply-all to Mike Abbate’s email?) then she surely will be willing to discuss this matter with a journalist. I’m sure you could come up with questions which are less inflammatory than where I’d start:

      How do you define damage to a trail? (in regard to the wheel tracks which are no deeper than the footprints)

      In what specific ways do those tracks affect the safety of other users, and the ecological integrity of the park?

      What is your evidence that those are bike tracks (and not a stroller)?

      Do you realize that mud is caused by rain, and not by bicycles?

      Have you ever been to an actual designated Wilderness Area?

      Do you realize that the rogue users (assuming they really are bicyclists) have nothing to do with the current advocacy efforts put forth by responsible cyclists?

      Have you ever considered that allowing cyclists to build new trails to ride in Forest Park will get them OFF of your precious hiker-only trails?

      What is the backstory on how bicycles became your windmill to tilt at?

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      • Brian March 29, 2013 at 8:54 am

        Perhaps a spokesperson for the mountain bike perspective could be included in the interview? Maybe someone from IMBA or NWTA?

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  • f5 March 28, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    The sad irony is that while appearing on OPB’s Oregon Field Guide episode about Zumwalt Prairie, she was a modicum of an open-minded, progressive-thinking environmentalist who was willing to try new approaches to working with ranchers and saw a positive effect on the prairie as a result.

    In regards to her position on forest park trails and her reported actions in the trails comittee, she’s been nothing but a closed-minded obstructionist. If she employed even 1% of the intelligent thinking she’s devoted to Zumwalt Prairie, she wouldn’t be emailing around these silly photos of tire tracks. I’m guessing she hasn’t seen the hiker damage to lower macleay lately.

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  • q'Tzal March 28, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Wanna turn this story on its head?
    Wanna score big bike PR points for cycling and MTB trail riding in Portland?

    Instead of “Adopt a Highway” we need to “Adopt a Trail” or “Adopt a Park”.
    Somewhere amongst our numbers are qualified ecologists and park ranger types.
    They could go out weekly or more frequently as needed to direct the efforts of us unskilled overenthusiastic volunteers in keeping our impacts as minimal as possible.
    And as a side effect of having more eyes on the scene scofflaws of all stripes might be encouraged to scoff elsewhere.

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  • 007 March 28, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    No excuses. Do not ride in Forest Park where it is not allowed. It ticks me off, too. I walk or jog the Wildwood Trail now and then and I used to ride in the park all the time.
    Please observe the rules and respect that the park is for everyone.

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  • Pete March 28, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    We have ‘properly built’ hiking and biking trails on Mission Peaks in SF’s east bay (Fremont), and the mountain bikers are some of the most active in helping the rangers repair and prevent ‘rogue trails” that cause the most damage – rain erosion. According to the rangers, who aren’t bikers and don’t often have the best to say about them, most of the rogue trails are caused by errant, lazy, and scofflaw hikers who ignore the signs. We’ve asked them, and it’s their opinion that hiking and biking cause equivalent damage. One of the better-educated rangers that I’ve volunteered with has said it’s not necessarily about the ‘vehicle’ used on the trail but the actual course of the trail itself (with respect to control of water flow).

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  • Marcy Houle March 28, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    Dear Editor Jonathon Maus,

    Thank you! Thank You! Thank You!

    By publishing my letter, you have successfully raised peoples’ awareness of Forest Park that I had only ever hoped to achieve. Out of six letters previously written to the Park’s Commissioner never have I received a response, until now. The fact that you were able to obtain this letter–written to the Park Commissioner and City Council– and publish it, gives me hope. I now know my previous letters had been received.

    Perhaps now we can have an open discussion to the issues facing our Forest Park and raise people’s awareness also about off-leash dogs, invasive plants, and decaying infrastructure.

    Sincerely,

    Marcy Houle

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    • Alex March 29, 2013 at 12:43 am

      I think people have been painfully aware of the challenges that have faced Forest Park (including you). In fact, we have turned out en masse to talk about it and have been met with nothing but disregard from you. It seems like you are just trying to milk publicity from Bark on the Timberline issue. If you want to contribute to the conversation, please contribute, but don’t act like we haven’t been here engaging the issue in any sort of way that was not “open”.

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    • SameSide March 29, 2013 at 9:35 pm

      Dear Ms. Houle,

      As you’ve no doubt observed on this page and elsewhere over the past decade or so, many of your actions ostensibly in defense of Forest Park and pertaining to bicycles have not been well received. While I personally accept that you are acting primarily and sincerely toward the goal of preserving and protecting Forest Park, I would ask that you not dismiss the concerns of those who are questioning you.

      Your critics – undoubtedly comprised overwhelmingly of responsible, conservation-minded members of the community much like yourself – seem to be quite insistent that when it comes to your view on bicycles you have an unfortunately myopic view that is actually working at cross purposes with your stated goal of long-term preservation of Forest Park. I ask you to step back for a moment and consider that fellow members of the community who are equally and sincerely committed to Forest Park’s conservation have in fact identified a blind spot in your view of what is truly best for the future of the park. And that blind spot may be especially obscured to you because it happens to coincide with what seems to be a strong personal objection that you have to the idea of sharing trails with fellow park users who might like to enjoy at least some parts of Forest Park by bicycle.

      If you believe that your critics are unlike you. and that their goal is the destruction or degradation of Forest Park, then you will undoubtedly continue in your campaign against the sharing of trails. If, on the other hand, you are able to see and acknowledge the common vision that you share with your fellow park visitors, I hope you’ll begin to agree that mutual respect, reasonable accommodation and responsible management are much more likely to benefit Forest Park than the animosity, obstructionism and inflammatory rhetoric that have damaged the very community upon which Forest Park depends for it’s long term preservation.

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      • Brian April 1, 2013 at 1:02 pm

        Very, very well said. Please consider sending this directly to Ms. Houle, as well as Mike Abate at Portland Parks and Rec. and the City Council. It would be great for them to hear from some other voices.
        Thanks for taking the time to write this reply.

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      • wsbob April 2, 2013 at 10:25 pm

        SameSide…in your comment, your effort to carefully avoid using phrases ‘mountain biking’ and/or ‘off-road biking’ to more specifically describe the type of bicycling it would seem you have in mind, is very apparent.

        Using euphemisms, rather than the actual term for a given activity, to soft-sell something…here, a type of biking…mountain biking, or off-road biking…that people may be increasingly aware is fundamentally contrary to the reason Forest Park was created, is a dubious strategy for winning people over to a position or plan they oppose. If they don’t already know, once they catch on to what you’re really talking about, and realize it’s not quite the wonderful thing you’re working to have them think it is…watch out.

        You’re evasive about naming who it is you’re referring to, when you use the word ‘community’, although most likely, once again you’re referring to mountain bikers/off-road bikers. Mountain bikers expressing themselves in comments to this thread, appear to have one fundamental objective above all others, relative to the park, which is to have Forest Park, a nature park, be used for mountain biking.

        Most characteristics of mountain biking/off-road biking, or aspects of this type of vehicular travel, are, as I mentioned before, fundamentally contrary to the purpose for which nature parks such as Forest Park, were created. I’d guess Houle understands this, which may be the underlying reason above all others, she opposes having the park used for mountain biking.

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        • SameSide April 3, 2013 at 9:50 am

          WSOB:

          Perhaps I can offer you an improved definition of the word “dubious.” The incessant and shrill use of terms like “usurped,” “devastation,” “ruined,” “safety,” “incredible damage,” “rampant vandalism” and “destruction” is little more than irresponsible hyperbole intended to divert attention away from a legitimate, thoughtful and fact-based discussion of Forest Park management. Then turning around and accusing others of somehow hiding behind code words like “cycling” and “community” is…well…dubious at best. If I am avoiding terms like “mountain bike,” it’s simply because you and Ms. Houle have spent so much time and effort attempting to demonize a particular group of trail users that I think it’s sometimes useful to avoid language that might distract from the core of the discussion.

          Most pernicious are your and Ms. Houle’s attempts to divide the Forest Park community in an effort to pursue your own personal vision of what’s best for the park. You think I’m somehow “evasive” by not buying into your “us vs. them” view of the park’s constituency. Well, here’s a riddle for you: I spend vastly more time enjoying Forest Park by foot than I do by bicycle. Which label would you like me to use – hiker or mountain biker? I also go there often with my child. Maybe I should just be labeled “parent” and I should contrive an agenda that sets me and other parents apart from the rest of the park’s visitors. “Forest Park community” is EXACTLY the language and the reality that I see and want to promote – not because it somehow obscures legitimate management concerns but because it recognizes the only possible way to address and resolve real-world issues.

          Finally, your assertion that mountain biking is “fundamentally contrary to the reason Forest Park was created” is a curious one. Are you telling me that Forest Park was not intended for the quiet, non-motorized, human-powered, human-scale, responsible enjoyment of park visitors?

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          • wsbob April 8, 2013 at 3:10 pm

            “…your assertion that mountain biking is “fundamentally contrary to the reason Forest Park was created” is a curious one. Are you telling me that Forest Park was not intended for the quiet, non-motorized, human-powered, human-scale, responsible enjoyment of park visitors?” SameSide

            I’m contending that Forest Park was established as a respite for people and a refuge for wildlife and nature from things that bring with them, the commotion of city life such as vehicles, which includes bicycles, and other machines.

            “…accusing others of somehow hiding behind code words like “cycling” and “community” …” SameSide

            Here’s what bikeportland’s editor-publisher wrote in this story:

            “…Houle is concerned by steps being taken by Director Abbate to improve bicycle access in Forest Park. …” maus/bikeportland

            I haven’t said maus is hiding behind code words. I have said he’s used euphemisms to refer to efforts to have the park be used for mountain biking. It appears he’s trying to soft-sell efforts to have Forest Park be used for mountain biking. As you may well know, in political settings, it’s called ‘spin’.

            Allowing Forest Park to be used for mountain biking, is not improving bike access in Forest Park…access which already exists in easily accessible form on forest roads within the park: Allowing Forest Park to be used for mountain biking…and by that, I mean on ‘single track’, i.e. single width trail, would be expanding use of the park for vehicular activity that is contrary to the purpose for which the park was established.

            Off-road bikers are the ones that are trying to make the case to unpersuaded Portland residents and others, and city officials including the director of parks, that using Forest Park for mountain biking would be a wonderful thing: So let them make the case. So far, they haven’t.

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            • SameSide April 8, 2013 at 3:49 pm

              Haven’t made the case? Mountain biking has been demonstrated over and over and over again to be an essentially safe, responsible, quiet, human-powered, wildlife-safe, enjoyable, manageable, sustainable “respite” from the “commotion” of city life. Hence it’s popularity. The commotion of a bicycle yielding to a hiker – or rolling past after a pleasant ‘hello’ – is essentially no greater than the commotion of encountering another hiker. On the other hand, the “commotion” it creates in some people’s imaginations is indeed limitless.

              You wrote: “Allowing Forest Park to be used for mountain biking, is not improving bike access in Forest Park…access which already exists in easily accessible form on forest roads within the park.” If you believe that, then you’ll have no objection to excluding all foot traffic from singeltrack trails as well. After all, the entire park would remain “..easily accessible on forest roads within the park.”

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              • Mike Vandeman April 8, 2013 at 4:20 pm

                “Mountain biking has been demonstrated over and over and over again to be an essentially safe, responsible, quiet, human-powered, wildlife-safe, enjoyable, manageable, sustainable ‘respite’ from the ‘commotion’ of city life.” HOGWASH. Where’s the beef? The only that has supported mountain biking’s claims has turned out to be junk science conducted by mountain bikers — a transparent attempt to greenwash mountain biking. It’s revealing that you don’t cite a single reference to back up your claim — because you CAN’T! Show us the beef! You won’t, because you can’t.

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        • Alex April 3, 2013 at 11:18 am

          Where is Forest Park legally considered a “nature park”? Or is this just a term you are now using to try to elevate its status when you speak?

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  • julie March 28, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    Imagine how much more beautiful this city would be if Marcy would turn away from the mountain bikers, and focus her keen attention to cleaning up all the cigarette smoking and cigarette litter!!! Now that would really change life for all Portland residents.

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  • Ryan March 29, 2013 at 5:58 am

    The biggest problem with the park are the people with unleashed dogs. A lot of people don’t like dogs, are afraid of them. Why do these idiots get to let their dogs off the leash when the signs clearly say they must be on a leash? Next time a huge ass lab comes bounding up the trail and jumps on me it’s going to get a blast of pepperspray in the face.

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    • Marid March 31, 2013 at 2:36 pm

      ’cause that would work out really well. I bet you’d make some friends.

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    • are March 31, 2013 at 9:52 pm

      why punish the dog for the sins of the master

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  • pdxbikeworm March 29, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    I’ve been hiking the Wildwood Trail since – well, since before it was the Wildwood Trail and kind of petered out the further west it went into plastic flags, ax marks on trees, and creek beds! There was a time when the worst damage was from motorcycles, not human cycles. Bottom line – its a big park, and, yes, some parts of it have been damaged by mountain bikes, as well as off trail hiking, illegal dumping, partying (anyone remember the keggers up at “Inspiration Point”?), etc…. I think that mountain bikes can cause damage, and have caused damage. I think people with heavy hiking shoes can also cause damage. I also think that we can all needlessly point fingers at each other and engage in breathless hyperbole about what’s happening to MY park as opposed to OUR park and not really solve anything. I also agree that Forest Park is not “old growth forest”, however, it is an important refuge for wildlife.

    I think its a big enough park to accommodate all of our needs, including wildlife, if we intelligently collaborate on how to meet those needs. I think a good start would recognize that there are fire lane and LE Drive that can accommodate bikes; that the currently constructed hiking trails for the most part can’t; to stop riding on trails not designed for the usage; and to start advocating and discussing ways we can build trails that can accommodate that usage. I believe its a big enough park that this can be done in a manner that does not overtly impact the parks function as a refuge for wildlife. As I say, its a big park!

    Lets get to work!

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    • Shoalolo March 29, 2013 at 10:26 pm

      You’re a little late; been going on, much as you described, for years. Nothing to show for it.

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  • Hugh Johnson March 29, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    If this was damage done by motorized vehicles, this forum would all be on her side. But bikes? Ha we’re not responsible for anything.

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    • Shoalolo April 1, 2013 at 11:09 pm

      Get real. You’re talking about “damage” no deeper than that left by shoes and paws.

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  • Brian March 30, 2013 at 7:43 am

    I rode from my house over to Forest park yesterday. I started my descent at the top of Firelane 5 (where Marcy Houle opposes the current improvements being proposed for mountain bikers). It was a total mess. It has been degrading for some time, and unfortunately is the only option for riders to get to their 1/3 of a legal mile of fun trail. It is in dire need of repair, which I believe mountain bikers are willing to do for free. It can be narrowed, naturalized, and built to withstand the rain and erosion.
    The section of Firelane 5 we built; however, was in great shape despite receiving a HIGH concentration of riders. All it will take is one work party to dial back in to perfect shape after the long Winter of riding it. It is a testament to the expert trail-building skills that mountain bikers possess. I even encountered a hiker who was heading up the trail. We exchanged pleasantries on a beautiful, sunny day and went on our merry ways on our preferred mode of travel. Great day!
    I look forward to building more trail there, and being able to “Ride to Where I Ride.”

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    • wsbob March 30, 2013 at 11:23 am

      If you’re saying Firelane 5 has degraded to the point of impassibility…which seems unlikely, since you apparently made it over the road…by mountain bikes and larger vehicles for which the road has been built to allow use of…then if you and your fellow mountain bikers feel so inclined…fix it.

      Your description of the road’s condition, your suggestion that your friends could affect repairs, suggests it’s not in particularly bad shape. Nobody’s going to complain if you throw some branches off the road, or fill in a low spot here and there as needed to create a clear track on the road for easy mountain bike passage.

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      • Brian April 2, 2013 at 9:46 am

        I’m not saying that.

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  • L March 30, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Unfortunately fire lanes can’t be “narrowed and naturalized” if their purpose is to accommodate fire fighting apparatus. I encounter bikers now and again when I am running or hiking on FL 5. The exchanges are always happy ones.

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  • Bjorn April 2, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I have tried to contact her for a tour. I have gotten no response. Has anyone else gotten a response. I don’t think that her offer to show the damage was real, perhaps because the damage is either not where she claims or as bad as she claims.

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  • Mike Vandeman April 4, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1994: http://mjvande.nfshost.com/mtb10.htm . It’s dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don’t have access to trails closed to bikes. They have EXACTLY the same access as everyone else — ON FOOT! Why isn’t that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking….

    A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and that science supports that view. Of course, it’s not true. To settle the matter once and for all, I read all of the research they cited, and wrote a review of the research on mountain biking impacts (see http://mjvande.nfshost.com/scb7.htm ). I found that of the seven studies they cited, (1) all were written by mountain bikers, and (2) in every case, the authors misinterpreted their own data, in order to come to the conclusion that they favored. They also studiously avoided mentioning another scientific study (Wisdom et al) which did not favor mountain biking, and came to the opposite conclusions.

    Those were all experimental studies. Two other studies (by White et al and by Jeff Marion) used a survey design, which is inherently incapable of answering that question (comparing hiking with mountain biking). I only mention them because mountain bikers often cite them, but scientifically, they are worthless.

    Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and, worst of all, teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it’s NOT!). What’s good about THAT?

    To see exactly what harm mountain biking does to the land, watch this 5-minute video: http://vimeo.com/48784297.

    For more information: http://mjvande.nfshost.com/mtbfaq.htm .

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    • Alex April 4, 2013 at 7:06 pm

      Says the man convicted of assaulting mountain bikers. You have proven yourself to be non-sensical and violent. You are only hurting your cause at this point.

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    • Shoalolo April 4, 2013 at 9:42 pm

      Uh, Mike? That five-minute video? It was in the same ballpark as a Warren Miller ski flick. (I was expecting something like a documentary or exposé.) News flash for ya: Only a handful of people in the world are even capable of riding like that, and it’s a pretty good bet they wouldn’t show up at Forest Park. (Yeesh! Talk about ignorant.)

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  • Mike Vandeman April 4, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    Thanks for demonstrating exactly how ignorant mountain bikers are. I have never been “convicted of assaulting mountain bikers”, or anything else. All charges were dismissed on 3/26/2013. Not that that has anything to do with the OBVIOUS harm that mountain biking does.

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    • Alex April 4, 2013 at 7:53 pm

      *Needs citation.

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    • Shoalolo April 4, 2013 at 9:53 pm

      Only charged and not convicted? Well then, let’s go have a beer.

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      • Alex April 5, 2013 at 10:48 am

        He was actually convicted and is lying. I hadn’t heard about the conviction being overturned, though. Perhaps he is telling the truth, but I have seen him lie about it before – even on bikeportland – so I wouldn’t believe it until I see it. I would love to see the public records on that one. He often trolls newsgroups related to mountain biking and posts videos of people getting hurt on mountain bikes and has been crazy since day 1.

        Here is a link: http://peterfrickwright.com/2011/04/punishment-parole-and-privacy/

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        • Mike Vandeman April 5, 2013 at 7:27 pm

          I always tell the truth. That’s the difference between me and mountain bikers. They ALWAYS lie, as you just did. Why would I lie? The truth is on my side!

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    • Brian April 5, 2013 at 9:21 am

      Hi Mike. For BP readers, here is a snippet from an Outside magazine involving this man. “In the most recent incident, which lead to his arrest, he’s accused of hitting a rider in the chest with a pruning saw as the biker went by.”
      Full article here:
      http://www.outsideonline.com/blog/outdoor-adventure/the-trial-of-mike-vandeman-1.html

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      • Mike Vandeman April 5, 2013 at 7:05 pm

        Charge dismissed. If you believe anything Outside Magazine says, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you….

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  • agw April 4, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    My heart goes out to Marcy Houle. Obviously the tire tracks in the photo are not from “baby joggers”…..they swerve in different directions. Apparently bikers have as little respect for honesty as they do for nature.

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  • Brian April 5, 2013 at 9:27 am

    It is dishonest of Marcie to say that riding on the Wildwood Trail is a criminal act. It is not. She is being dishonest by saying so. Also, I would like to know where and when these photos were taken. No reply.

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    • portlanddoctor April 5, 2013 at 5:05 pm

      I have read these comments from the mountain bike community with interest. I am a mountain biker but doubt I would be a good candidate for the sport of single track. I think many people enjoy it and deserve to have a place to do it. Forest Park is not the place for it. Andy, it is illegal therefore criminal to ride your bike on Wildwood Trail. The Natural Resources Land Use Management Plan that you can find on the Portland Parks website is land use law. It states that bikes are allowed on Leif Erikson, Saltzman Road, Sprigville Road, BPA Road, Newton Road, Firelanes 1,3,5,10,12,15 and uphill on Holman lane. Bikes are prohibited on all other trails. It is the law. You might be interested in this collaborative document that included members of PUMP and was developed on a consensus basis in 1995. It assessed Forest Park to be a very special resource that needed to be preserved and restored and recommended “passive use” only as well as monitoring the heath of the park and the impact of recreational use of all kinds on the park. Anticipating increased demands of all sorts it recommended that uses that resulted in increased impact on the park should be routed to other parts of the parks system. You have seen this happening for single track with new opportunities at Powell Butte, Gateway Green and Riverview Natural Area. Although as pointed out on a bike blog, the old ordinance banning bikes that is posted 16.26.250 is no longer in effect, there are indeed other ordinances that cover bicycles as vehicles that continue to support the law. It did not go away. However my concern is primarily for the animals off leash that have a right to be on pedestrian trails and have a right to be safe. I am talking about children. Children over the age of 3 like to run out in front of their parents on the trail. They have a right to do so. Every year pedestrians are killed on trails by bicyclists. This is one of Marcy’s major points,the safety of pedestrians on trails, that in your rush to critisize her, not one of you has stopped to consider. There are other issues than trail damage that need to be addressed.

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      • Mike Vandeman April 6, 2013 at 2:41 pm

        Bravo! But don’t forget the wildlife. Like children, they can’t protect themselves from speeding (or not speeding) bikes. Bikes therefore should be restricted to pavement, where wildlife and children are unlikely to be present.

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      • Bill Walters April 10, 2013 at 10:20 am

        With phrasing such as “the sport of single track,” you pretty spectacularly fail a self-imposed Shibboleth test. You, sir, are no mountain biker. What’s to be gained by misrepresenting yourself as such?

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  • SameSide April 5, 2013 at 9:41 am

    For decades now, Mike Vandeman has been engaged in a one-man, self-aggrandizing campaign to purge the planet of anyone who would choose to ride their bicycle in the woods. During that time, mountain biking has grown tremendously as an activity that has invited and excited a whole new crop of outdoor enthusiasts, particularly young adventurers who comprise the conservation constituency and backcountry leadership of the future. Despite Mr. Vandeman’s constant assurances that riding a bicycle in open, natural places can bring nothing short of the utter annihilation of mountain, man and beast, nothing of the kind has occurred.

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    • Mike Vandeman April 5, 2013 at 7:12 pm

      Total BS. The only thing mountain bikers lobby for is more access for bikes to trails. They know NOTHING about real conservation. Thanks for demonstrating that once again.

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  • agw April 5, 2013 at 11:46 am

    This comment section reads like the cackling of jackals. It grieves me that people have reached this nadir of disrespect for nature. Kick all the bikers out……thieves in the temple, wheeled locusts. You don’t know or care about nature. You are selfish, insatiable and don’t belong there. Go back to the streets where you belong.

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    • Mike Vandeman April 5, 2013 at 7:16 pm

      Mountain bikers are welcome everywhere. After all, they are generally indistinguishable from other recreationists. I only want their BIKES banned from natural areas. We don’t want to add ammunition to their claim of being “discriminated against”. They AREN’T. The exact same rules apply to EVERYONE.

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  • portlanddoctor April 5, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    I have read these comments from the mountain bike community with interest. I am a mountain biker but doubt I would be a good candidate for the sport of single track. I think many people enjoy it and deserve to have a place to do it. Forest Park is not the place for it. Andy, it is illegal therefore criminal to ride your bike on Wildwood Trail. The Natural Resources Land Use Management Plan that you can find on the Portland Parks website is land use law. It states that bikes are allowed on Leif Erikson, Saltzman Road, Sprigville Road, BPA Road, Newton Road, Firelanes 1,3,5,10,12,15 and uphill on Holman lane. Bikes are prohibited on all other trails. It is the law. You might be interested in this collaborative document that included members of PUMP and was developed on a consensus basis in 1995. It assessed Forest Park to be a very special resource that needed to be preserved and restored and recommended “passive use” only as well as monitoring the heath of the park and the impact of recreational use of all kinds on the park. Anticipating increased demands of all sorts it recommended that uses that resulted in increased impact on the park should be routed to other parts of the parks system. You have seen this happening for single track with new opportunities at Powell Butte, Gateway Green and Riverview Natural Area. Although as pointed out on a bike blog, the old ordinance banning bikes that is posted 16.26.250 is no longer in effect, there are indeed other ordinances that cover bicycles as vehicles that continue to support the law. It did not go away. However my concern is primarily for the animals off leash that have a right to be on pedestrian trails and have a right to be safe. I am talking about children. Children over the age of 3 like to run out in front of their parents on the trail. They have a right to do so. Every year pedestrians are killed on trails by bicyclists. This is one of Marcy’s major points,the safety of pedestrians on trails, that in your rush to critisize her, not one of you has stopped to consider. There are other issues than trail damage that need to be addressed.

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    • Alex April 6, 2013 at 11:54 am

      I don’t really get how you consider yourself a mountain biker but don’t ride single track, but I digress…

      That document is about 20 years old and should probably be revisited. Quite a few things have changed, including the organizations that were involved in the talks. Forest Park is indeed a very special place, no one is saying that it isn’t. It is a very large, special place and it should be shared. The impact of mountain biking is not as bad as many seem to believe, especially on trails that can be modified slightly to deal with a slightly different use – or footprint as it may be. I also would not call hiking or having dogs off-leash “passive use”. The damage that has been done by hikers is not hard to see and cycling impacts trails no more than that, if built and maintained correctly.

      Regarding increased use and child safety, both issues could be mitigated by sharing trails on alternating days. Also, it is not as if the mountain biking community is asking (or even close to asking) to open all trails to mountain biking. There would still be the vast majority of trails open only to pedestrians.

      Regarding child safety in general – did you know that the number on cause of death for children between 1-12 is car accidents? How many of those children on those trails do you think would be getting there by means other than a car? Do you have any stats to the number of children hurt/killed by mountain bikers a year and the statistics that surround that? Based on the huge amount of trails I have ridden that have shared use (which is all of them essentially), things seem to go pretty smoothly and people are pretty mellow. Is there not enough of Forest Park to share? Do 3 year olds need over 50+ miles of single-track to themselves to feel safe or do you think that might be just a bit much?

      While I appreciate your concern for the children, the impact on Forest Park and potential harm to children can easily be mitigated. There is enough room up there for everyone, not just you and your children.

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      • Mike Vandeman April 6, 2013 at 3:00 pm

        “The impact of mountain biking is not as bad as many seem to believe” No matter how often this myth is refuted, mountain bikers keep trotting it out. No one who can think, or has ever seen a mountain bike tire, could believe that mountain bikes have the same impact as a hiker. Mountain bikers, for example, go much faster & farther than hikers. Even if they had the same impact PER FOOT (which they don’t), that would make mountain bikers’ impact several times as great as a hiker’s. Footprints are almost invisible. Tire tracks are almost always very visible. Knobby tires chew up the soil. That’s called “erosion”! The only way to prevent that is to PAVE the trail, which no one wants. So keep your bike on paved roads! You can always WALK on the trails. You will SEE a lot more!

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      • portlanddoctor April 9, 2013 at 10:53 pm

        I would like to believe that people on both sides of this issue consider themselves fundamentally ethical and are motivated by their values which happen to have differing priorities. I was very impressed by some of the values and remedies and sense of responsibility expressed after the incident involving racial profiling discussed on this site. Given that premise I will continue in the conversation. I would like to comment on the ethics of riding illegally on a pedestrian trail as well as the legality and finally how you arrive at your definition of fairness. If you knowingly and intentionally ride on a pedestrian trail illegally you are not simply breaking a rule or a law intentionally, because you can ,or because you can get away with it, or because you think the law is unfair, you are also knowingly and intentionally putting pedestrians’ safety and sense of safety at risk and creating intimidation. I think this raises breaking a rule or law from just being illegal to being criminal. I am familiar with civil disobedience and I have been arrested for it, but when one endangers someone else in such an act it has other implications. On the legal side, last spring in San Francisco one cyclist was convicted of vehicular manslaughter and another accused of a felony when in separate incidents they struck pedestrians. In some instances where cyclists have hit pedestrians, cities has been sued for not protecting the pedestrians. In New York in 2010, a state Supreme Court Judge ruled that 4 1/2 year old, Juliet Breitman was not too young to be sued for negligence when she ran her bike into an elderly woman and broke her hip. A University of Washington study by William Moritz in 1998 concluded that the crash rate for bikes on trails was 40% higher per mile than on roadways. This figure is not about hitting pedestrians, but reflects that trail riding has more risks for the rider and others on the trail. I asked a lawyer about the current regulations concerning bikes in Forest Park. 16.70.560 gives parks the right to restrict or prohibit types of vehicular traffic in parks. (When 16.26.300 went away, bikes were subsumed under rules governing vehicles) 16.70.330 allows for bikes being impounded if they are threatening the welfare of others (I noticed this is now being posted in Washington Park). Since no specific fine is stated in the first ordinance the fine would be the general fine 1.01.140 of $500. Just because the Ranger can’t cite illegal activity does not make it legal. It means for now you can get away with it,unless of course you are negligent or a pedestrian is not quite nimble enough to get out of your way and something happens. This is exactly why notions of alternate day trail sharing just won’t work. The Parks Department now holds this opinion as well. It would simply be impossible to enforce. Just as the regulations currently are not being enforced. A recent Park’s Survey revealed that 92% of Forest Park users are pedestrians.Why do you cyclists think it would be fair for you to take your bikes on any more than the approximately 30% of trails already open to bikes? Of course you are always welcome on all of the trails, on foot.

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        • SameSide April 9, 2013 at 11:31 pm

          Portlanddoctor:

          I believe I asked you to cite examples – any examples – of cyclists striking and killing pedestrians on trails – you know, the kind of singletrack trails we are actually talking about here in the case of Forest Park. Still waiting for your response on that. In fact, still waiting for any data you may have that shows pedestrians in actual danger of death or injury as a result of sharing singletrack trails with bicycles. I’m sure you can come up with something – because you certainly wouldn’t be basing your well-measured, professional, scientific opinion on nothing more than a few anecdotes, right?

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    • Brian April 6, 2013 at 2:53 pm

      I want to discuss the semantics here, not to be argumentative, but because I think it’s an important distinction for a number of reasons. It is not against the law (or a crime) to ride your mountain bike on hiking trails in Forest Park. The Park ranger cannot issue a citation for a misdemeanor for doing so. It is against Portland Park rules, and you can be banned from the Park for a period of time for riding on a hiking trail.

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    • Brian April 6, 2013 at 3:06 pm

      This is what I don’t understand, why is this such a huge concern for Forest Park and not all other places hikers and mountain bikers coexist? Take Powell Butte, for example. I have encountered hundreds of hikers over the past 15 years there, from the very young to the very old (and horses), and have never had an issue. Why are you so concerned about the safety of children in Forest Park and not all of the other trail systems? In all honesty, I see more children hiking at Powell Butte than at Forest Park.
      Secondly, do you oppose separate trails or an alternating-day share plan as well? If safety is THE concern, lets address it with some common-sense solutions. They exist and are used effectively all over the world.

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      • Mike Vandeman April 6, 2013 at 3:21 pm

        Hogwash. The laws of physics and biology are the same everywhere. If you haven’t had an “issue”, it’s most likely because the hikers who don’t want to be threatened by large, fast-moving pieces of MACHINERY have gone elsewhere, so you won’t meet them. Separate trails is not a solution, because it doubles the habitat loss (if you build more trails) or deprives other trail users of access to their public lands (if you give their trails to mountain bikers — a tiny minority of the public, or use them on alternate days). The ONLY solution is to restrict bikes to pavement.

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        • Brian April 7, 2013 at 5:48 am

          You must have missed this so I’ll type it again…..I have encountered hundreds of hikers over the past 15 years there, from the very young to the very old (and horses). Is there a slight possibility that you are wrong? Is that possible?

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          • Mike Vandeman April 7, 2013 at 7:29 am

            Not really. I refuse to hike where bikes are allowed. It’s dangerous and no fun. The same for everyone I know. I know of several parks that equestrians have virtually abandoned, due to the presence of mountain biking. If we wanted to be around bikes and other human artifacts, we would stay in the city. That’s exactly what we go to the parks to GET AWAY FROM! Why do you think that riding a bike on a sidewalk is illegal?! Get real.

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            • SameSide April 7, 2013 at 8:26 am

              Mike, have you ever noticed that “everyone you know” – the people who you think you are defending and speaking for – generally refuse to post alongside you as soon as you enter a discussion? I’m sure you think that’s because they believe you’re doing such a great job representing their views, but i suspect it’s actually because they are embarrassed at the thought of possibly being associated with your views. Over the past decades, your rantings and antics have inspired so many trail sharing advocates, and for that I thank you.

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              • Mike Vandeman April 7, 2013 at 9:35 am

                Hogwash. They just know that it’s hopeless to try to get a mountain biker to actually think honestly about what they are doing, and stop wrecking the environment. But I haven’t given up hope. I still have faith that there is a trace of morality left in you. But WHERE?????

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            • Bill Walters April 9, 2013 at 4:18 pm

              Er, Mike? Riding a bike on the sidewalk generally IS legal. That’s true here in Oregon and also in your (and my former) California. However, local ordinances may apply—such as the one for downtown Portland’s grid.

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              • Mike Vandeman April 9, 2013 at 7:04 pm

                BS. It’s only legal in CA if you are under 13 years old. Can’t mountain bikers EVER tell the truth?????

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                • A mtber April 9, 2013 at 7:14 pm

                  I have no idea why I am responding to you, but your incessant lies are just so obviously wrong that I feel the need to point it out. What you said is factually false. It is left up to the local municipality to decide which people and who can ride on sidewalks. In fact, here is a page from the government of CA stating exactly that: http://www.chp.ca.gov/html/bicycleriding.html

                  Moral of the story: don’t listen to Mike Vandeman as he ALWAYS LIES.

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  • Mike Vandeman April 5, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    For lots of other MTB videos, see http://mjvande.nfshost.com/mtbvideo.htm. They are all about the same: boring as hell — but an accurate depiction of that very destructive sport.

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  • SameSide April 6, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Just like clockwork. Give Vandeman a public forum and he’ll shoot himself in the foot…or should I say stab himself with a pruning saw.

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    • Mike Vandeman April 6, 2013 at 2:14 pm

      Thanks for demonstrating for the millionth time: mountain bikers lie and use ad hominem (attack the messenger) to avoid facing the truth about mountain biking and the harm that it does. You guys are 100% predictable that way. I predict that you will continue trying (but failing) to attack me, and say NOTHING about the harm that mountain biking does.

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      • Brian April 6, 2013 at 2:59 pm

        BIKES BELONG!! Even wildlife knows that. They use our trails all the time to efficiently get from point A to point B. Native plants are grateful too. They are always thanking me for running over the slugs that terrorize them on a daily basis.

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      • SameSide April 6, 2013 at 3:19 pm

        Sorry, Mike, but every time your rich, full fantasy life spills out of your head all over a public forum, some of us who are familiar with the real-world details and considerations of recreational trails management just can’t help having a bit of fun with you. NONE of your dire predictions regarding safety, wildlife, erosion, etc. have ever materialized. Yet you keep on keepin’ on, and that has indeed earned you some kind of odd respect. Don’t ever stop.

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        • Mike Vandeman April 6, 2013 at 3:27 pm

          Unlike you, I have actually READ and UNDERSTOOD all the research on the subject, and am the world expert on mountain biking impacts. The VAGUENESS of messages like yours gives you away: you don’t know what you are talking about, otherwise you would give specific details, cite research papers, etc. You DIDN’T, because you CAN’T!

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          • Brian April 7, 2013 at 5:44 am

            You know what might help to clear your mind? A nice, long mountain bike ride. Cheers!

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            • Mike Vandeman April 7, 2013 at 7:23 am

              I rode a mountain bike once, because I wanted to investigate the damage done by a 20-mile mountain bike race the previous day. It was by far the most boring & unpleasant time I have ever spent in a park. I can’t imagine what anyone sees in such a boring activity. You have to pay attention to controlling the bike, and can’t possibly enjoy the park itself! DUH! I’ll take a hike in preference to a mountain bike ride any day. If mountain bikers weren’t so lazy and uninterested in nature, they would do the same.

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  • SameSide April 6, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Portlanddoctor wrote: “Every year pedestrians are killed on trails by bicyclists.” Please cite the incidents. Be careful, relevance counts.

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  • L April 6, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    If you are a mountain biker that poaches trails and you were on Maple Trail in February you might want to check the front page of the new NW Examiner. There’s a photo of a mountain biker standing with his bike facing the camera. Unidentified in photo caption.

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    • Brian April 8, 2013 at 1:40 pm

      Likewise, if you are a hiker who was disobeying Parks Dept rules and were hiking the closed McLeay trail you may want to check the “Snapshot” section of the Feb issue. There might be a nice photo of you.

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  • bjorn April 7, 2013 at 10:11 am

    What hikers are being allowed on this mtn biking trail? I sure hope they don’t ruin it… Oh wait maybe everyone wins when trails are shared. http://www.oregonlive.com/travel/index.ssf/2013/04/cascade_locks_seeing_lots_of_u.html#incart_river_default

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    • Mike Vandeman April 7, 2013 at 12:15 pm

      The wildlife and the non-mountain bikers all lose, whenever bikes are allowed on the trails. The mountain bikers also lose. Another one just killed himself yesterday. He hit a TREE! Imagine that! Who would have thought that there would be TREES next to the trail?

      As the song says, “When will they ever learn?”

      Mike

      http://www.blackhillsfox.com/2013/04/06/A-Rapid-City-man-is-dead-after-mountain-bike-incident

      A Rapid City man is dead after mountain bike incident
      Saturday, 06 April 2013 15:23
      The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office says a 21-year-old Rapid City man is dead after he lost control of his mountain bike and stuck a tree.

      The Sheriff’s Office says the incident happened Saturday afternoon while the man was out mountain biking with a friend on trails near Rockerville. Authorities say the ‘experienced mountain biker’ was wearing a helmet at the time of impact and suffered from blunt force trauma. He was transported to Rapid City Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The incident remains under investigation.

      Brendyn Medina

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      • Brian April 7, 2013 at 4:45 pm

        Congratulations, you just reached a new low on this board. Making fun of a man (possibly a dad and husband) who just died is the most despicable thing I have ever read here.

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        • Mike Vandeman April 7, 2013 at 6:17 pm

          I know, the mountain biker approach is to completely IGNORE serious injuries and deaths among their peers, hoping no one will notice and put a halt to this insane sport. At least I make use of his death to warn people not to go down that road. If making fun of him is what it takes to direct attention to the problem, so be it. YOUR solution is to sweep it under the rug, so that MORE prople will get injured and killed. What’s good about THAT?????

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          • bjorn April 7, 2013 at 10:49 pm

            Seldom do I think that comments should be deleted, but seriously this one so throughly combines a lack of information (this is a mtn bike trail allowing hikers not the other way around) with a complete lack of compassion for someone who just died, all posted by someone who is so anti bike that he hit a cyclist with a saw, well maybe it is time for some moderating maus…

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            • Mike Vandeman April 8, 2013 at 5:47 am

              No surprize here! Mountain bikers LOVE censoring people who tell the truth about their destructive sport, LYING, and attacking the messenger. Anything to avoid talking about the harms that mountain biking causes, even when it results in DEATH. If you had any compassion, you would publicize these cases yourself, instead of trying to sweep them under the rug. As to the incident you refer to, TELL THE TRUTH!: CHARGE DISMISSED! LIAR!

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              • Eric April 8, 2013 at 8:06 am

                Well if we’re going to continue feeding the troll, I’ll just leave this here for Mike to respond to about a hiker who just died.

                http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2013/04/06/Colorado-hiker-dies-in-fall/UPI-61871365302823/

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              • SameSide April 8, 2013 at 8:38 am

                A fascinating glimpse into Mr. Vandeman’s innocence and tireless service to society here:

                http://peterfrickwright.com/trial/

                Some excerpts:

                Assault with a deadly weapon was the first charge, and they had no verdict, so Madame clerk started on count two.

                For vandalizing Ian Richards’ bike tire: not guilty.

                Since the punctured tire could not be found, this count was Richards’ word against Vandeman’s, leaving plenty of room for reasonable doubt. At this news, Vandeman moved forward and back in his seat very rapidly.

                For exhibiting a deadly weapon: guilty.

                In my opinion, the evidence and testimony was weakest on this charge. At one point Cook had argued for the charge to be thrown out since there was quite nearly no evidence that Richards had felt threatened. But in closing arguments, Cabanero made the point that showing a weapon during a conflict is a threat, intended to send a message. Apparently, the argument stuck.

                For exhibiting a deadly weapon at Emanuel Alcala: guilty.

                For battering Emanuel Alcala: not guilty.

                The jury said that there was no evidence that Vandeman had touched Alcala, just his bike.

                For battering Justin Bruss: guilty.

                On count one, the handsaw, after asking the jury a series of questions, the judge declared a mistrial. The District Attorney’s office will have to choose whether they want to pursue that charge with another jury trial in May.

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  • Skid April 7, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Mike Vandeman
    I rode a mountain bike once, because I wanted to investigate the damage done by a 20-mile mountain bike race the previous day. It was by far the most boring & unpleasant time I have ever spent in a park. I can’t imagine what anyone sees in such a boring activity. You have to pay attention to controlling the bike, and can’t possibly enjoy the park itself! DUH! I’ll take a hike in preference to a mountain bike ride any day. If mountain bikers weren’t so lazy and uninterested in nature, they would do the same.
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    You know what is boring? Walking. You travel at a whole 2 miles per hour. The furthest I walk is from my front door to my garage to get my bike. For mountain bikers the fun is controlling the bike. If you have that skill set, you can and do enjoy the view. You don’t have to travel at a snail’s pace to appreciate nature, 6 to 12 mph is just perfect. Hiking is slow and excessively tiring for the distance you travel. It is a weight bearing activity so you are just slamming your body weight down on your knees and ankles, rather than being comfortably seated and having the bumps being taken up by fat tires, if not suspension. So much better than slipping or tripping on a root or rock and twisting your ankle.

    But honestly, to each their own. My wife prefers hiking in the woods, and even though I would prefer to be on 2 wheels, I enjoy the time I spend with her experiencing the great outdoors her way. Maybe you should try opening your mind a little so you can appreciate someone else’s perspective.

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    • Mike Vandeman April 7, 2013 at 8:38 pm

      It sounds like you have ADHD. Have you forgotten to take your Ritalin? If you were honest, you’d admit that at mountain biking speed, most of what you “see” is a blur. You are missing most of what is interesting about nature, while destroying the enjoyment of everyone who is on foot. For all you see, you might as well ride on the street, or an exercycle in front of the TV. Is that tiny bit of thrill worth the risk of serious injury or death, which seems to be the fate of most mountain bikers? I doubt it (I know, that only happens to “other people”).

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      • Skid April 8, 2013 at 5:44 pm

        I do have ADHD-inattentive type. I would probably be more of a risk-taker/adrenaline junkie if it wasn’t for that pesky generalized anxiety. Good job making fun of mental illness.

        I am being honest. If I had a video camera I’d show you. Most of my singletrack riding is at a jogger’s pace. I see the trees, all the different types of plants. I hear birds singing, and see the occasional deer. I slow down when approaching hikers and stop when I get close to them so they can feel safe and pass safely. I only ride fast on fire roads.

        The kind of riding you are describing falls more into the “Xtreme” category. That sort of riding takes place at MTB specific resorts and during races and other types of competition. It is not the only type of riding that mountain bikers do, I don’t even think it is typical.

        As someone who has been mountain biking for over 20 years in addition to riding on the street/commuting, I can tell you without a doubt that it is much safer on a trail. For one thing there are no cars to run you over. Nothing that has happened to me off-road remotely compares to being hit by a car.

        I will also point out that hikers get injured and get lost and sometime die of dehydration or exposure. If you are alone and you fall you may not be able to limp out, whereas if I injured one foot I could still pedal (thank you toeclips) or use my bike as a crutch and make it back to the trailhead.

        There have been independent trail impact studies that show mountain biking is no worse than hiking in terms of trail erosion/destruction. Wheel ruts or boot craters, take your pick. Horses are the most destructive, almost equal to the destruction that would be caused by motorized vehicles.

        I know mountain bikers have trail maintenance days, do hikers do the same?

        I see nothing but hate coming from you, directed at mountain bikers.

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        • Mike Vandeman April 8, 2013 at 7:59 pm

          “There have been independent trail impact studies that show mountain biking is no worse than hiking in terms of trail erosion/destruction.” Obviously, you haven’t actually READ any of those “studies”, or you wouldn’t be able to say that. But it doesn’t take any science to see that mountain biking is MUCH more harmful than hiking.

          I don’t hate mountain bikers. How could anyone hate people who are their own worst enemies? You will be dead long before any of the hikers you criticize. I’m the only person talking about how SELF-destructive mountain biking is. I care more about your welfare than you yourself do!

          And don’t tell me how much you are able to pay attention to while mountain biking. It is physically impossible to pay attention to two things at the same time. Trying to do that is a good recipe for a crash!

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  • Mike Vandeman April 8, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Hogwash. All charges were dismissed 3/26/2013. They were all BS. But, hey, thanks for demonstrating, for the millionth time, that mountain bikers HATE talking about the harm that mountain biking does, and would much rather attack their critics. You guys are 100% predictable.

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    • SameSide April 8, 2013 at 1:40 pm

      Mike, Perhaps it would be useful if you could provide external, independent links to information regarding the dismissal of “all charges.” Then, as you wish, we can all go back to poking fun at your ideas instead of your individual behavior.

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  • Mike Vandeman April 8, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    I have a better idea: why don’t you learn to do your own research first, and then TELL THE TRUTH. By the way, if you believe anything a mountain biker and notorious liar like Peter Frick-Wright says, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.

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    • Eric April 8, 2013 at 3:55 pm

      How much and where’s the bridge?

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    • SameSide April 8, 2013 at 3:55 pm

      Mike, All I did was invite you to clear your good name.

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      • Mike Vandeman April 8, 2013 at 4:23 pm

        The court already did that. There’s nothing you can add except “I’m sorry for LYING”.

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        • SameSide April 8, 2013 at 4:54 pm

          Mike, As a self-declared stickler for facts, you of all people would want to point all of us to the public record of your exoneration, right?

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          • Mike Vandeman April 8, 2013 at 7:41 pm

            You are (deliberately) missing the point: I’m teaching you how to do what I do. I do my own research and check my facts first. You, on the other hand, just say whatever you like, and take no responsibility for your own words. Do your own research. You will find out that I’m 100% correct. That’s why you refuse to do the work: YOU KNOW I’M RIGHT! It’s easier to simply LIE, right?

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  • Brian April 8, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    We could use that bridge. Thanks!

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  • Shoalolo April 8, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Wow Marcy, Mike Vandeman: Great ally. How can anyone fail to side with you now?

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    • SameSide April 8, 2013 at 10:08 pm

      Actually, when you think about it, Vandeman has done a pretty good job of co-opting this whole discussion and diverting attention away from Marcy’s hysterics regarding FP. Vandeman is very comfortable falling on his own sword (or pruning saw) so I imagine he’s quite pleased about having pushed any legitimate discussion of FP management off a bit of a cliff. But you’re right, if Vandeman is Marcy’s knight in shining armor, she’s more likely to get carried off to the looney bin than to a castle.

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  • Skid April 9, 2013 at 12:13 am

    Mike Vandeman
    And don’t tell me how much you are able to pay attention to while mountain biking. It is physically impossible to pay attention to two things at the same time. Trying to do that is a good recipe for a crash!
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    It’s called multitasking. Something us people with ADHD have going for us. Don’t worry, I wear a brain bucket.

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  • Skid April 9, 2013 at 12:22 am

    Some facts to chew on.

    http://got.net/~landauer/mtb/Guelph_MTB_study.pdf

    Mmmmmm….tastes like crow, eh Mike V?

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    • Mike Vandeman April 9, 2013 at 7:57 am

      Not really. That’s the study that proved that above 500 passes (250 trips) mountain biking has greater impacts than hiking. Of course, that means EVERY trail, since 250 visits is miniscule. How does the crow taste? Did you even READ the study? I did. More mountain bikers’ junk science.

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    • Alli April 9, 2013 at 8:34 pm

      Wow–this whole thread is like watching a slow motion train wreck of a one-trick pony. All the angry troll says is that everyone lies and doesn’t understand the research. He even said the authors of a peer-reviewed article (which has been cited at least 76 times) are liars (note–there is only so much you can fit into a conclusion. The rest are in the results section. That’s not lying.) Yet he himself doesn’t actually publish any peer reviewed research beyond some commentary pieces here and there over the last couple of decades. If I were Marcy Houle I would not want this so-called expert on my side. He’s making this whole thing a bad joke. It’s like reading the tabloids.

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    • Mike Vandeman April 10, 2013 at 4:29 pm

      “soil exposure following biking was only significantly greater than hiking
      at one pass-intensity (i.e., 500 passes) (Thurston 1998).” QED How does that crow taste?

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      • TrailLover April 10, 2013 at 5:01 pm

        “Mean species loss over all pass intensities was …least in the outer zone (8% for biking, 11% for hiking)” Ouch! Looks like we’re going to have to ban hiking entirely. But wait a minute…this whole peer-reviewed study is a big mountain biker lie. So confusing!

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        • Mike Vandeman April 10, 2013 at 8:54 pm

          Every trail will sustain at least 500 passes — sometimes on the first day! From then on, mountain biking will do more damage than hiking, as the study determined. But because it was written by a mountain biker, they suppressed the results of their own study, because they didn’t like the outcome. That has been true of every single “scientific” study that has claimed to be favorable to mountain biking. This is not surprizing, because they lie everywhere else. How does that crow taste?

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          • SameSide April 10, 2013 at 9:01 pm

            Mean species loss for ALL PASS INTENSITIES in the outer zone was 8% for bicycles but a whopping 11% for hiking. Looks like you’re going to need to take up mountain biking if you’re really concerned about the environment, Mike. That’s gotta hurt!

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            • Mike Vandeman April 10, 2013 at 9:16 pm

              Not really. It just means that the hikers had to walk on the outside of the trail, probably because the mountain bikers put a big RUT in the center of the trail. The study is a good example of junk science, undertaken only to greenwash mountain biking, NOT to get at the truth. No surprize there. It’s utterly typical that you ignore my statements. It happens to everyone who tells the truth about mountain biking.

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              • SameSide April 10, 2013 at 9:23 pm

                Whoa there, Big Mike! “Not really?” “Probably?” “Junk science?” Is that the same “junk science” that you’ve just been quoting to prove your point? Just because I think you “probably” have a diagnosable personality disorder doesn’t make it true, does it?

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  • Skid April 9, 2013 at 8:36 am

    You said that on the internet, it must be true.

    I did read it.

    The damage caused by hikers and mountain bikers is nearly equal.

    Stop being a baby and share the trail.

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    • Brian April 9, 2013 at 9:28 am

      It doesn’t matter. He does’t live here. He just spends his time trolling on the internet. Imagine if he put this much time into something that actually does harm people, like teen drinking and driving. Or tutoring “at-risk” youth. He could actually have a positive impact on society. Sad.

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      • Skid April 9, 2013 at 9:46 am

        Haha. Or maybe do some trail maintenance, like mountain bikers do.

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  • Mike Vandeman April 9, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Obviously you didn’t read the part that said that mountain biking impacts are greater when >= 500 passes. The authors also suppressed that part in their conclusions. Mountain bikers are always dishonest.

    I’m happy to share all trails with mountain bikers, as long as they leave their bikes at the trailhead. The same goes for all other hikers & equestrians. If that’s not good enough for you, because you asre too lazy to walk, TOUGH.

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  • Skid April 9, 2013 at 9:02 am

    “The physical impacts of mountain biking on vegetation and soil seem to be no worse than those of hiking”

    “Mountain bikes are alleged to cause damage because of the inherent conflict between recreational user groups sharing the same space.”

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  • Mike Vandeman April 9, 2013 at 9:13 am

    The author LIED. Their own paper disproved that statement. So you didn’t read it carefully. DUH! In my experience, mountain buikers ALWAYS LIE.

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    • Bjorn April 9, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      Is that why you attack people with saws? You lost all credibility when you started being physically violent.

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      • Mike Vandeman April 9, 2013 at 7:07 pm

        Thanks for demonstrating for the millionth time that mountain bikers NEVER tell the truth. It never happened, which is why the charge (and all others) were DISMISSED. Awaiting your apology….

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        • bjorn April 9, 2013 at 11:12 pm

          So you managed to beat some of the charges because one of the cyclists whose tire you punctured with the saw failed to keep the evidence, but from what I hear you were convicted of exhibiting a deadly weapon so realistically it seems like you are the one lying and there will be no apology to you because from what I can tell you did assault people with a pruning saw.

          On another note it seems really messed up to me that someone so convinced that mtn biking damages the environment loves to golf. Your recreational activity seems far worse than riding a bike.

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          • Mike Vandeman April 10, 2013 at 11:22 am

            Never happened. That’s why I was exonerated & the charges were DISMISSED. Nor have I ever been a golfer. But mountain bikers LOVE to keep repeating these lies, because it beats telling the truth about the harm that mountain biking does. By the way, if you weren’t present, making assertions about what happened is called “LYING”. And exhibiting a screwdriver IN SELF-DEFENSE is not a crime. Final score: me 1000, mountain bikers ZERO. You guys sure are gluttons for punishment. No mayyet how many times you are exposed as FOOLS, you keep coming back for more! Keep it up! You are your own worst enemies.

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            • bjorn April 11, 2013 at 9:37 pm

              First I don’t believe you, multiple people saw what you did, OJ wasn’t convicted either it doesn’t mean you didn’t do it. Second even your denial is an admission that you have in fact threatened people with a screwdriver, is that really supposed to make me think you are less unstable? Third, do you usually rent the golf cart, or do you own your own, or do you get a caddy to carry your clubs?

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  • SameSide April 9, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    Aahhhhh, the subtle genius of Mike Vandeman! Reading Mike’s posts is like staring at one of those optical illusions where – despite knowing full well that it simply can’t be true – your own brain just won’t let go of the phantasm that is gripping your imagination. When I was about six years old I was crazy for magicians and magic. But I had no skills to speak of. So I would just wave my hands wildly and scatter flour from my mother’s pantry in the air as I mumbled make-believe incantations that I was sure would turn my cat into a winged dragon. In my mind, it worked every time. While it was cute at first, my friends and family eventually began to wonder if I would ever snap out of it or if I was actually so deeply committed to my fantasy world that I could no longer tell imagination from reality.

    Mike has been waving his hands, scattering flour and mumbling incantations on the internet for decades. His ability to interfere with and disrupt constructive public discourse is legendary. On the plus side, his antics have helped to inspire a whole generation of trail sharing advocates while at the same time shining a bright light on the lunatic fringe of anti-bicycle craziness. For that, we all owe him a debt of gratitude. Presto! The Great Vandemandini strikes again!

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    • Brian April 11, 2013 at 6:22 am

      I propose this as the MVPost of this story. Well written. Cheers!

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  • Eric April 10, 2013 at 11:40 am

    C’mon folks let’s keep this crazy train wreck going. We’ve almost caught up with “An apology and other thoughts on that story” as THE HOTTEST topic on bikeportland right now.

    What other obvious lies can we point out about Mike?

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  • SameSide April 10, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Somebody PLEASE OH PLEASE produce a Tshirt with Mike’s famous mugshot mashed up with the Banksy “OBEY” image. And if anyone can ever find actual evidence of Mike’s acquittal/dismissal/innocence, let’s include it in a prominent footnote for all to see. I want to be fair. Wait a minute…if I’m a mountain biker and ALL MOUNTAIN BIKERS ALWAYS LIE…dammit! I can’t tell up from down anymore.

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  • SameSide April 10, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Better yet, maybe some code writer can build a random “LIES! LIES! LIES!” comment generator that can robotically scan online discussions for keywords like “sharing,” “cooperation,” “trails community,” “success,” “happy” or “getting along just fine” and just start posting random snippets from the Vandeman archive. Maybe that will give Mike a badly-needed rest.

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  • Eric April 10, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Looks like http://www.stuffmikevandemansays.com is still available. You could build out that page to just do that every time you click on it. Maybe have a PayPal link to that would actually go to IMBA.

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  • Mike Vandeman October 19, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Nobody has had the guts to answer this question: Why are mountain bikers “excluded”, given that they are all capable of using the trails by means of WALKING? Or is this just another mountain biker LIE???

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    • Psyfalcon October 19, 2014 at 9:13 pm

      Because they are excluded from riding their bike. No, they are not prevented from wandering around on foot, but they are prevented from practicing their low impact sport.

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      • Mike Vandeman October 20, 2014 at 2:22 pm

        Learn English. They are NOT “excluded” from the trails. They simply have to leave their bike at the trailhead — JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. So you have all been LYING. Now explain what horrible trauma results from being separated from your bike for a few hours. You are free to ride your bike on any paved road — JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. So they are NOT “excluded from riding their bike”, LIAR.

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        • Psyfalcon October 20, 2014 at 2:37 pm

          You got me. Prevented would have been the better word. Now, leaving my bike at the trailhead does prevent me from practicing my sport.

          Am I free to ride my bike on gravel roads open to cars?

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          • Mike Vandeman October 20, 2014 at 3:07 pm

            Preventing you from practicing a destructive sport is a good thing. I think you should be able to judge whether riding on a gravel road is destructive or not. Of course it is. Whether someone else is also doing something harmful is irrelevant, and doesn’t excuse you.

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            • Brian October 20, 2014 at 3:58 pm

              Yawn……

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    • Brian October 20, 2014 at 9:00 am

      Yawn….

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    • TrailLover October 20, 2014 at 4:56 pm

      As near as I can tell, except for a brief quiet period in 2010 following his arrest for assaulting a couple of cyclists, Mr. Vandeman has spent decades copying/pasting the same anti-recreation and largely self-referential comments in any forum he can find.

      Despite his animosity toward those of us who sometimes like to visit our public trails by bicycle, he’s actually been one of the best friends the off-road cycling advocacy movement has ever had. Mr. Vandeman has pushed the “crazy needle” far towards the anti-bicycle side of the dial for so long that it has led many people to dismiss his types of concerns outright. While that may have aided cyclists, it’s a bit of a shame for the outdoor community because there are some genuine trail management issues that deserve civil discussion. Trail users of all types may have perfectly reasonable concerns about things like user conflict, user safety, trail impacts, etc., but those good folks often seem afraid to express those views freely because they don’t want to be associated with Mr. Vandeman’s style of spiteful rhetoric. We can all do better…and we typically do.

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  • Mike Vandeman October 20, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    You did a good job of saying nothing. How about giving a good reason for allowing bikes on trails? I’ve been waiting for about 20 years, and haven’t heard one yet (that’s obviously because there ISN’T one)!

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  • TrailLover October 20, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    Perhaps the lesson here is that if you ask the same question for twenty years and you receive direct replies over and over again from thousands of different people but you still can’t detect an answer, then it’s time to have your ears checked.

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  • Mike Vandeman October 20, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Notice that you didn’t answer the question (because you CAN’T)!

    No, I’ve only received one or two responses, none of them worth repeating.

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  • TrailLover October 20, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Thanks for driving home my point – if over the course of twenty years you receive thousands of responses to your questions but you can only recall one or two of them – which you dismiss anyway – then maybe it’s more than your ears that needs checking. Or you can just carry on argumentum ad nauseam.

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  • Mike Vandeman October 20, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Learn to read. I’ve only received one or two responses. You are obviously incapable of answering my question, proving my point: there IS no good reason for allowing bikes on trails!

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  • GlowBoy October 21, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Here’s a response: because bicycling is a clean, fun, healthy recreational activity.

    Not coincidentally, that’s the main reason we allow pedestrians on trails.

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  • Mike Vandeman October 21, 2014 at 9:50 am

    1. You’ve given not a single reason to allow bikes ON TRAILS! There are millions of miles of paved road where you can bicycle without doing much harm.
    2. You are LYING. Mountain biking is extremely dangerous. Serious injuries & deaths are an almost daily occurrence: http://mjvande.nfshost.com/mtb_dangerous.htm.

    Obviously, when mountain bikers try but can’t find a single good reason to allow bikes on trails, there IS no good reason. QED

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 21, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Mike Vandeman and others. I don’t think this back-and-forth is all that productive. Therefore, I’m closing this comment thread. Thanks for your participation and if you think I’m wrong to do this, please contact me directly at maus.jonathan AT gmail DOT com.

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